quote:This section of the article got me thinking about how we design our games these days. When I first started designing Manta-X, it started with a simple concept to which I added more and more complexity until the project eventually lost focus and crashed into a heap of ill-designed technology demos. Now, I''m designing an engine to base my games on. It''s not hugley complex but it''s still several abstractions above the ''core'' of how I used to create my games on the Amiga. But my point is that I seem to be more and more focussed on the technology behind the game, the engine powering it all rather than the simple aspects of the game itself. But beyond and because of that, the expectations of what I can achieve on my own in my spare time seems to be far outweighed with what is actually achievable. I''m thinking that because my engine is able to achieve certain things, then my game ideas should grow to accomodate this. It seems that I am aiming too high and invariably getting lost by trying to achieve a professional type game; forgetting my ''roots'' as a hobbyist as if it''s something to be ashamed of. It''s obvious that many people joining GDN these days are guilty of such things, wanting to create The Next Big Thing and failing after they realise it''s out of hand. My question, or thinking point for you to discuss is simple - when designing your own games, do you design the game based on what you know you can achieve or do you ''aim too high'' and try to achieve what a team of professionals can only accomplish? How do you bridge that gap when designing your games? Surely it''s boring to churn out PacMan 2004 for the 90th time, but it''s obvious that it''s unacheivable to recreate Doom III from scratch. So how do you set your goals? Are they a moving target? Does the game evolve, remaining playable as a ''complete'' game in it''s own right, but evolving in features and size/complexity as the months and years pass?
Professional game programming and hobbyist game programming have become widely separated. And yet people don''t seem to realize this, or they seem unwilling to acknowledge it. The bitter battles on Usenet about the importance of C++ and other hot topics: those are the concerns of people who have to follow the accepted standards for professional programming in team environments. They have different concerns than the after-hours game designer. Some hobbyists don''t want to admit they are hobbyists, they try to follow the professionals, and they are never heard from again. Oh, they''ll write part of a hot 3D engine and get all the "in" opinions, but except in very rare cases you never see their name on a finished game. And that''s too bad, because when you''re working on your own you can be creative and different and do things according to your own vision. That''s the only reason for being a hobbyist in the first place.